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Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000 21:36:53 -0500
From: Paul Lindemeyer
Subject: Re: [CB] Riverside Carillon

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000 16:22:12 -0800
From: "Peter Hurd" <

Dear Paul,        Thanks for your e-mail regarding the carillon at The
Riverside Church. In 1956, the carilloneur, Camille Lefevre convinced
the church  to remove 58 of the original Gillet&Johnston treble bells
and replace them with Dutch bells. It was fortunate that it was not
physically possible to remove any bells larger than the one ton F. The
original bells were from the best period of Gillet & Johnston, who were
as a good a bellfoundry as has ever cast carillon bells. These 58 Gillet
bells were melted down ( truly a crime ) and recast by the Van Bergen
bellfoundry in Holland, one one the least competent bellfounders of all
time. The result was a complete disaster . The new Van Bergen bells did
not match the bass end of the instrument even slighty, and did not even
constitute a coherent set standing alone. The tuning of the Van Bergen
bells is dreadful (eclipised perhaps only by the set they cast for the
U. of Montana, Missoula)- the bells are not even close to being in tune
within each individual bell, let alone matching anything else in the
set. To add insult to injury, every bell of the Van Bergen set has a
completely different profile on from another. The carillon with the
addition of the Van Bergen bells sounded like a non-stop catfight (or
the wrath of God). The upper two octaves of the V.B. bells could not be
heard on the ground.It must be added that over the last 40 years a
number of firms and bellfoundries have attempted to add Dutch or French
bells to an existing heavy carillon of English origin. The results are
totally predictable- disaster without exception.(e.g.- The Mayo clinic,
Rochester, Minnesota).When we came to design new (Whitechapel) bells to
match the existing bass at Riverside, we did extensive acoustical
analysis of the remaining 16 Gillet bells with an  electronic frequency
analizer that we designed and built ourselves (Whitechapel also has one)
. It is accurate to 1/1000 of a semitone, and automatically locks in on
the strong harmonics as you ascend the scale. We also visited all the
"sister" carillons to the Riverside carillon around the world (e.g. U.
of Chicago, Ottawa, Wellington ) and analized all these as well. We also
were fortunate to have access to the original foundry tuning records
which reside in a private collection in England. Our goal was not to
make an exact clone of the original carillon (it is doubtful that the
upper octaves of the Gillet bells would have been heard on the ground),
but to create a musically balanced instrument. The new treble bells are
the heaviest weight per pitch ever cast (it is difficult to hold even
the smallest bell in your hand for too long) and when the rebuild is
complete in a year or so, the sound will be even throughout. The new
Whitechapel bells are of remarkable quality in every respect, and the
completed carillon I trust will rank as one of the all time finest
ever.      Anyway, I hope this is of some help to your curiosity.
With best wishes,     Peter


Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000 22:53:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Eric Mumpower
Subject: Re: [CB] A Contra-alto question

> I would definitely ditch the mouthpiece.  Get a Selmer D or so, and try
> using something a little more substantial in the reed department.

My (used) leblanc BBb came with what I assume is its original Leblanc
mouthpiece, which left its previous owner with a moderately chipped facing
and a startlingly chipped edge between the angular beak-chamber and the
rounded bore. Heavily used, and worthy of replacement.

Initially, my playing in the chalumeau register had an unexpected
low-frequency buzz; moving from a Rico 2.5 (which was all the local store
had in stock at first) to a Vandoren 3 helped somewhat. I can only imagine
that a better mouthpiece would make an even more dramatic difference. And
so, never having bought a contra mouthpiece, I want to get a new one. But
I'm also a bit worried that I may have to buy such a pricy item essentially
mail-order, with no option of comparison-shopping or returning it if it
doesn't suit me. (Are these fears justified, even though I live in Boston?)

Is there any "conventional wisdom" about selection of contrabass (clarinet)
mouthpieces? I'm sure that there's a great deal of contradictory
semi-religious belief among players, but I'm also sure that there's a
reasonable consensus on some key points.

Specifically: What brands/models should I avoid, and what brands/models
might I consider? In what ways, aside from price and difficulty of finding
"test-drive" mouthpieces, does selecting a contrabass mouthpiece differ
from, say, selecting a soprano mouthpiece?


From: Fmmck
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000 23:54:00 EST
Subject: Re: [CB] A Contra-alto question

In a message dated 11/25/00 10:54:04 PM, Eric writes:

<< Is there any "conventional wisdom" about selection of contrabass (clarinet)
mouthpieces? >>


My straight Leblanc BBb Contra came with what was probably the original
mouthpiece.  It might be OK if I could find a reed that would fit it.  The
Rico reeds are way too narrow.  The VanDoren reeds, although wider, still are
not quite wide enough.

Someone here recommended a Selmer C**.  The only one I could find happened to
be a Selmer C*, which I got for a relatively good price.  I understand the
C** has a wider tip opening, and will work with a softer reed.  I'm using a
VanDoren 3 reed with the C*, and suspect a 3 1/2 might be better.

There was no question about trying out mouthpieces and picking the best one,
since that C* was the only one I've ever found in a local dealer's inventory.
 I understand that companies like WW&BW will send you a selection and let you
choose the best.

Fred McKenzie
***End of Contrabass Digest***

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